The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has awarded funding for three new studies in addition to continuing support for five ongoing studies as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea.
"We are pleased to award new grants for these additional avenues of rosacea research that may lead to important advances in its treatment and potential prevention or cure," said Dr. Jonathan Wilkin, chairman of the NRS Medical Advisory Board, which selects grant applications for funding. "Studies to date have made significant progress toward the more effective control of this disorder, and we are grateful for the support of the many thousands of patients whose donations make these studies possible."
Dr. Ferda Cevikbas, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-San Francisco, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to assess the role of PACAP, a neuropeptide that may affect rosacea. They plan to define the distribution of PACAP in skin samples from rosacea patients, determine whether PACAP induces inflammation and test whether cathelicidin — a known factor in rosacea's pathophysiology — modulates the release of PACAP. The researchers also plan to test whether countering the effects of PACAP is beneficial and may thus be used as a rosacea therapy.
Dr. Edward Wladis, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Albany Medical College, was awarded $12,100 to identify specific cytokines — molecules that regulate the immune system — that are involved in ocular rosacea by studying eyelid tissue from individuals with and without the disorder. Dr. Wladis noted that while inflammation is normally a healthy part of the immune response, aberrations in the cytokines' concentrations and functioning in rosacea may result in unhealthy and prolonged inflammation.
This knowledge may have significant therapeutic implications for ocular rosacea, as medications have been designed to suppress specific cytokines.
Dr. Richard Granstein, chairman of dermatology at Cornell University, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to study the potential role of Th17 cells, a newly discovered class of cells that appear to be involved in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Earlier study results strongly indicated that release of ATP — a neurotransmitter and carrier of chemical energy throughout the body — from nerves under stressful situations may initiate a sequence of events leading to or exacerbating inflammation in the skin. This study will investigate whether this inflammation results because Th17 cells are produced during this process in rosacea.
The NRS is also continuing to fund studies by Dr. Richard Gallo and colleagues at the University of California-San Diego on the potential role of cathelicidins in rosacea1; Dr. Joseph Rothnagel and colleagues at the University of Queensland, Australia, on kallikreins and rosacea; Dr. Thad Wilson and colleagues at Ohio University on nerve activity in rosacea; Dr. Aki Ikoma and colleagues at the University of California-San Francisco on the neurovascular system and rosacea; and Dr. Noreen Lacey and colleagues at the University College in Ireland on the effect of antibiotics on sebocyte cells in rosacea.
- Yamasaki K, DiNardo A, Bardan A, et al. Increased serine protease activity and cathelicidin promotes skin inflammation in rosacea. Nature Medicine 2007;13:975-980.